Strength Training 62. Weeks 68-71 ... Powerlifting Comps, New PBs and DISMAL FAILURE all in the Mix!

I have continued the gradual weight loss during this period (Fri 17 Nov: 83.4kg, Fri 24 Nov: 82.4kg, Fri 1 Dec: 81.2kg, Fri 8 Dec: 82.2kg, so that I am now happy I will be able to compete in the -83Kg category at the Novice powerlifting comp in Liverpool on 13 January 2018. I was extremely lucky to get a place in this comp as the registration filled up within 15 minutes!

Whilst on the topic of competitions, I also helped out at the Christmas Extravaganza NW Powerlifting comp held at Fighting Fit, Manchester on Dec 3rd. I was a loader and spotter for the afternoon session.

I enjoyed doing this and it gave me a very different perspective on things. I would happily do this again and believe my performance at the competition in January will be better as a result of having done this, though that remains to be seen. I should congratulate my pals Adam Mack and Neil Hardy for doing so well at this comp ... well done guys!

So, where are my lifts at with regard to comp prep? They are currently a mixed bag, with summaries below:

Bench Press: I am currently in a peak phase on this lift, with the final peak due to coincide with the January comp, so all is well there. I have had a few new rep PBs so far, so things are looking on track for a new PB shortly.

Squat: The linear progression stage of my squat plateaued at 135kg (I got 5 sets of 2 reps) during the second week of Nov (week 67), so I employed the traditional Texas Method from week 68 onwards. Basically this entails lifting at 85% of previous intensity for 5 sets of 5 reps on Monday (volume day), 85% of Monday for 2 sets of 5 reps on Wednesday (recovery day) and 100% plus 2.5kg for 1 set of 5 on Friday (intensity day). This was the first time trying this protocol and the intensity day was much harder than I expected it would be, but I pushed hard and managed to progress with this for three weeks, but failed dismally today. Last week I managed 140kg for 4+1 reps, this week I barely managed 142.5kg for 5 single reps, so it is time to change the program again.

Deadlift: I have had to increase the intensity here in order to hit a reasonable lift at the comp in January. Up until the second week of Nov I had been doing deadlifts on Tuesday (conventional for 5x5) and Friday (sumo for 5x5) with both sessions at the same weight and increasing the load by 2.5kg weekly ... still following the linear progression phase. I was not happy that this would get me to a decent weight in time for the comp, so adjusted it to Conv AND Sumo on both days for 3 sets of 5, with an increase of 2.5kg on each day (=5kg increase weekly). On week beginning 20 Nov I changed my style to semi-sumo for 3 sets of 5, with an increase of 2.5kg on each day (=5kg increase weekly). I expect to work up to a reasonable lift in time for January ... possibly around 170kg for my third attempt. Although this will be down on my previous comp deadlift at the charity event in April 2017, where I got 182.5kg, I will be doing it a bodyweight 10% lighter, so in terms of x bodyweight lifts it will be a better lift overall. I also tried the hook grip again, but found it very uncomfortable at a heavy weight. Today, I failed dismally with this lift. After getting 150kg for 5 reps on Tuesday, I was unable to get 152.5kg off the ground today. I was using a different bar, it was also following the failed squat attempt mentioned above and this was all on top of really shit sleep and forgetting my knee sleeves. Training heavy squat and deadlifts on the same day was always doomed to failure, so I just need to tweak my program slightly and should probably move to heavy deads once per week.

Overhead Press: Not a competition lift, but one I continue to pursue. I peaked and reached a new PB on this lift of 75kg on 22 Dec. Following a deload week, I am now back on a volume block in order to try and push this up to a 1x bodyweight lift.

As the comp draws closer over the next few weeks, I will be reducing the amount of accessory work to zero, will finish all heavy lifting 2 weeks pre-comp and will just work up to my opening lifts in the final week pre-comp, but will rest for most of that week. This period also incorporates Christmas and the New Year, so I will need to keep a reasonably close eye on my weight, but still intend to pig out here and there.

As always, thanks for reading and don't forget to check out my book: Escape the Fat Trap: It's not rocket science!